Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. The weather felt like winter this morning. People begin to bundle up for cold weather. This is a normal pattern of life, because if we don’t, we recognize from experience that we will suffer from a consequence – we will get sick. I hope we will be cautious of a “spiritual weather” that can cause us sick if we don’t bundle up with the right clothing. That’s why Paul said in Ephesians 4:24, “put on the new self (new clothing in Christ), created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness,” when he described Christian living. Later on in the same letter, Paul reminded us to bundle up again by saying, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (6:11-13). God does not create human being with a thick fur to resist cold weather like Polar Bear. God designs our lives to be dependence on the provision of God for cover or protection. When Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, God made “garments of (animal) skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Gen 3:21). Cold weather reminds us of our dependence on His provision to survive not only physically but spiritually as well.
I am not saved by believing; I realize I am saved by believing. It is not repentance that saves me from the consequence of my sins; repentance is the sign that I realize what God has done in Christ Jesus. The danger is to put the emphasis on the effect instead of on the cause. We may think that it is my obedience that puts me right with God – the effect of my consecration. Never! I am put right with God because prior to all, Christ died. When I turn to God and accept by faith what He reveals I can accept, instantly the amazing Atonement of Jesus Christ rushes me into a right relationship with God; and by the supernatural miracle of God's grace I stand justified, not because I am sorry for my sin, not because I have repented, but because of what Jesus has done. The Spirit of God suddenly lights up my mind and I know, though I do not know how, that I am saved.
The salvation of God does not stand on human logic; it stands on the sacrificial Death of Jesus. We can be born again because of the Atonement of Our Lord. Sinful men and women can be changed into new creatures, not by their repentance or their belief, but by the marvelous work of God in Christ Jesus, which is prior to all experience or spiritual respond-ability. Our indestructible security of justification and sanctification is God Himself. We have no ability to work out these things ourselves; they have been worked out by the Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ. The supernatural (Life of Christ) becomes natural (life in Christ) by the miracle of God; there is the realization of what Jesus Christ has already done for us on the cross - "It is finished."
Indeed, it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph 2:8-10). Our new life in Christ is the effect of God’s work in our lives. The way we realize this new life in Him is to recognize by faith what Christ has done; but such ability of realization is a gift from God. That’s why Paul prayed for the church of Ephesus, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (1:17-19).
We don’t only need God to help us realize what Christ has done for us on the cross. We need Him daily to reveal to us how glorious our new life in Christ will become. So stay focus on Him because He loves to perfect His workmanship – which is you and I.
Love you because we are ONE in Him,